Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: The Secretary Turned CEO, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Kettle.
It’s a rare beast, proper opera at the Fringe. And while Lucid Arts and Music’s dayglo show has its faults, and takes merciless liberties with Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona (on which it’s based), it’s a delightful romp, full of laughs and some good music too.
Director Julie Osman and writer Rebecca Marriott update the action to a contemporary loo roll factory, where scheming secretary Selena (who obviously runs the place anyway) gradually ousts ineffectual boss Hugo from the top job by cunning and trickery. They stick mainly to Pergolesi’s original music – delivered with gusto by a trio playing keyboards, violin, guitar and bass, led by enthusiastic musical director Danyal Dhondy – but throw in a bit of jazz and pop for good measure, and Marriott’s colloquial and gleefully profane libretto keeps the gags coming.
Crispin Lewis seems a bit unsure of himself as boss Hugo, his singing and acting both on the reserved side, but Sofia Troncoso is magnificent as the conniving Selena, with an effortlessly clear, ringing soprano, and a natural sense of comic timing that she shares with Jordan Ellaych’s silent and long-suffering intern, who sometimes threatens to steal the show.
It’s a bit ragged in places, and some of its well-meaning humour falls flat, but there’s no doubting the show’s energy and enthusiasm.
C Venues (Venue 34) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 13 August 2015
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